In-country reviews: 3 tips for avoiding pitfalls and missteps

One step of the translation process that can often be overlooked by clients as an essential piece of the project is an in-country review. Here are three points to help clear up your questions about this piece of the translation puzzle.

What is an in-country review and why is this extra step so important to the quality and accuracy of a translation? Typically, this is a step of the translation and localization process in which an individual or a team reviews a translation project for accuracy of the message and faithfulness of the target document(s) to a company's brand and the content of the source document(s). It is often a good idea to have an in-country review after receiving the translated text from the translation vendor. Even though vendors have a quality review process, many clients wish to take this extra step in order to ensure a specific linguistic standard that represents their brand and/or that needs to pass through a regulatory process once it is complete.

If you prefer to have someone from within your company review the translation, it is best to train this person before having him or her review texts. Be clear about what you expect and connect your reviewer to your translation vendor so that the conversation between the two is transparent and effective. Be sure to have the reviewer send the edits to the translation vendor all at one time instead of in parts, as this will allow the vendor to review the document(s) in their totality, ensuring a much smoother process and avoiding inconsistencies. If the vendor has questions for the reviewer, it can also send them all at once instead of separately, saving everyone time and money.

How do you decide who are the best in-country reviewers? This can be a tough question if you are choosing them yourself. Many companies make the mistake of simply finding someone at their company who is bilingual (speaking the source and target language of the translation) without considering their skills and background. Although this may work well, this person or team must have strong linguistic abilities in both languages. Bilingualism means something different to most people. Choose someone who not only has outstanding linguistic abilities in both the source and target languages, but who is familiar with the type of text that was translated. This person or team should know what you want of them in the process. Do you want them to make stylistic edits, as well as objective ones? Do you know if they have experience looking at two documents side by side and comparing them? What will determine necessary edits from the translation vendor and what may need to be restructured in the source document(s) in order to better represent the company and brand? Speaking of branding, the reviewer should be familiar with your marketing team as well, feeling free to call on them for assistance with any brand-related questions that could arise.

Reviewer
Reviewer

If using your own staff, choose an objective reviewer. Many companies will choose someone on their staff to fill the position of the reviewer. However, this can bear its own pitfalls if not done carefully. First, it's important that this person have the time and dedication needed to properly review files and turn them around within a reasonable time frame. Remember, if they're on your staff, they probably have other work to do as well. So, be flexible and allow them adequate time to review files without being pressured or rushed through the process.

This person or team should also be compensated for reviewing translation files if this is not part of their normal day-to-day workload. Make sure the reviewer has all the tools necessary to perform the task. Does he or she need a larger monitor in order to see both the source and target document side by side? Are the appropriate programs and software installed on the reviewer's computer? Does your company use a specific glossary for industry-specific or internal terminology and does the reviewer have access to it?

And perhaps the most important piece of the puzzle with in-country reviewing is consistency. Without consistency, a company may be wasting money and time on the review process. Try to keep the same team in place and hold a conversation periodically about ways to improve the process, both from your translation vendor's perspective, as well as from your reviewer's.

Does your company have an in-country reviewer? What have you found to be important steps to take in the process?